The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a public consultation on new proposals to launch the first Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the world in the year 2020. The new proposals will require any vehicles travelling within the congestion zone to meet new standards.æ The zone would be in effect for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Though many vehicles are already likely to meet the necessary standards by 2020, the Mayor and TfL are also planning to try and increase take-up of low emission vehicles. The ULEZ should help to improve the quality of air in the London area, making it a more pleasant place in which to work.æ Predictions are that ULEZ could halve emissions of both nitrogen oxide (NO2) and particulate matter from vehicle exhaust, leading to more than 80% of the capital meeting the NO2 legal limits by 2020. NO2 has been shown to cause breathing problems and to increase asthma symptoms, with children and young people most likely to be affected. ULEZ could massively cut down exposure in hospitals, care homes and schools across London. The majority of traffic entering the ULEZ is likely to originate from outside, meaning that the zone should also benefit the rest of London. Mayor Boris Johnson said: 'Introducing the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone is an essential measure to improve London's air quality and reduce NO2. 'Safeguarding Londoners' health and well-being is a top priority for my administration. 'I understand that people need adequate time to switch to greener vehicles and help is at hand for those who will be hardest hit, but let's be clear, we need to make these important changes ASAP to continue to improve Londoners' quality of life and give everyone who lives in or visits the city the cleanest possible air to breathe.î Interestingly, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has already questioned Londoners having to wait until 2020 in order to enjoy the benefits of clean air.æ Head of urban logistics and regional policy director Christopher Snelling said: 'Businesses are already operating some Euro VI HGVs today, despite the costs involved,î 'If TfL provided the right incentives, we could ensure that those vehicles are used sooner in central London, which faces some of the most difficult air quality challenges in Europe.î The proposals would require vehicles travelling in central London to either meet the following emissions standards, or to pay a daily charge.æ TfL will also be working to reduce emissions from its buses, as well as from private hire vehicles and to increase the number of zero emission capable vehicles.æ Demonstrator fleets in London will help to boost industry sales and lead the transition towards low emission technology.